SigFig Your Way To Better Investing

Every investor should use a one stop place to monitor, research, and benchmark their personal investments. This is in addition to their brokerage portal. If you have an investment portfolio, here’s a nifty website that does all of this for free, and it provides bank-level security.

SigFig is an investment portal noted for transparency and can help improve your investing experience. As a dashboard style portfolio tracker, SigFig gives real-time access to stocks, mutual funds, exchange-traded-funds, and options across the investment spectrum. To add investments to SigFig, simply enter each separate account login credential. Within minutes you have all investments pulled together in one view.

SigFig is not an investment brokerage and not intended to replace your brokerage services. By syncing retirement, brokerage and self-directed accounts, all of your investments are now in one place. This can be important since individual brokerages and fund families will not sync with each other. Now, trades, holdings, and accounts update automatically all on one dashboard. The cross-platform information is secure, as it is read-only, so changes to accounts can not be made through the SigFig portal.

The name SigFig is a catchy take-off on the term ‘significant figures’. Investors consider significant figures as all digits in a number that express preciseness and accuracy. When you have money in the stock market, accurate reporting data can make or break a buy or sell decision.

Based on personal experience, managing a portfolio can take quite a bit of time. When to buy or when to sell are second only to initial stock selection as drivers of gains and losses. Clear, understandable, and accurate data is the lynch pin to good portfolio decisions.

For a new investor wanting to start with an automated system, SigFig will offer a simple solution by building, monitoring, and managing a custom portfolio. Similar to the way a brokerage account works, the difference is that SigFig uses three prominent American asset management firms through a cooperative agreement for fund selection. Clients are not able to make individual fund selections, nor can they buy/sell from the managed account.

The payoff here is you eliminate two major drags to investment returns:

  1. paying too much in fees (often including hidden fees)
  2. not being properly diversified across stock sectors and asset classes

The first $10K for this service is managed at no cost and after that the management fee is 0.25%.

Full disclosure here is that SigFig will use computer models to seek low fee, low turnover mutual funds and exchange-traded-funds to meet your investment goals. There is nothing wrong with this notion, since good performing funds are selected, but this isn’t the same as using personal metrics to buy individual stocks. For many investors, this is a great way to get their feet wet so to speak before jumping in to their own stock buys.

Using SigFig is intuitive and quickly you’ll find advice postings suggesting ways to improve your investing such as saving on fees, lowering trading costs, eliminating redundancy in your holdings, etc. While these postings are important to consider, the site does require some reading between the lines.

In the case of a discount one brokerage I use, SigFig consistently points out that my trading fees are excessive. However, this account reflects investments in a legacy trust which is in the acquisition phase. Simply to say, stock purchases are made quarterly and at times more often, purchases will be held long-term and many will never be sold, and therefore trading fees really aren’t excessive.

If you want to be a self-directed investor, SigFig is a good place to start. You will be able to:

  • optimize investment returns
  • keep investment costs down
  • quickly monitor your portfolio
  • make wise decisions regarding tax effectiveness of your investments

At its bare bones, SigFig does everything that it was set up to do and does it well. The site is an aide to investing, transparent and no strings are attached in any way to using it.

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